People with Type 1 diabetes are tired of being linked with the negative stereotype of gluttony and obesity that has been associated with the other kind of diabetes, Type 2, and many are proposing renaming the disease to clear up the confusion.
Most people don’t realize, but there are two very distinct forms of the disease diabetes. Type 1, also known as Juvenile Diabetes, is often diagnosed when the patient is young and is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. A person with Type 1 diabetes is incapable of making their own insulin and must inject it into themselves for the rest of their lives.
On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes often shows up later in life, and can be caused by obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise. It’s effects can be controlled or even reversed by improving diet and exercise.
Sufferers of Type 1 diabetes often have to endure the unaware comments of people who don’t understand the difference between the two types and tell them that they should just eat healthier and they wouldn’t have to inject insulin. They are frustrated by the misconception that they have ‘brought the disease on themselves’ and that it is easily cured.
Hashemi-Rad from Minnesota stated that she wants people to understand that her Type 1 diabetes didn’t come from an unhealthy lifestyle, and that she finds comments such as “Oh, it’s too bad your parents fed you so much sugar” or “If you just follow this diet you can stop taking insulin!” to be insulting and discouraging.